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Thursday, 21 September, 2000, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Chavez seeks more powers

The Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, has said he will ask the National Assembly for special powers to legislate by decree in social and economic areas for one year.

If the so-called Enabling Law is approved, Mr Chavez will have the right to legislate without parliamentary debate.

Mr Chavez said the new legislation would include a new land law, as well as reforms in the oil, banking and transport sectors.

He described these laws as vital and urgent.

The Enabling Law requires the support of sixty percent of the Assembly's members. Despite his overwhelming popularity in Venezuela, critics have accused Mr Chavez of leading the country towards authoritarian rule.

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